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Dollar dazzles after US rate cut but stocks blindsided

Oil more expensive for customers outside the US

By AFP - Aug 01,2019 - Last updated at Aug 01,2019

The Fed decision has sent the US dollar to its highest level in more than two years against the euro (AFP file photo)

LONDON — The dollar pushed higher on Thursday following the US Federal Reserve's [Fed] first rate cut in more than a decade, but a lack of clear signals on future easing whipsawed equity markets. 

The Fed decision sent the US dollar rallying to its highest level in more than two years against the euro and the pound.

The strong dollar made oil more expensive for customers in countries outside the United States, with the two main crude futures contracts losing more than 1.1 per cent.

"Commodities should still see some support on easy money flowing throughout all the major central banks in the world," said OANDA Markets Senior Analyst Edward Moya.

The move to ease the cost of borrowing had been well telegraphed and was meant to inoculate against global risks washing onto American shores.

Fed chair Jerome Powell said the US central bank decided on a 25-basis-point cut in the rate to "insure against downside risks from weak global growth and trade policy uncertainty".

He told reporters he remains confident in the American economy and sees no sectors ready to go "bust".

Some in the markets, as well as US President Donald Trump, thought the Fed might go for a bigger cut and signal that further easing was on the way, but Powell declined to commit to, or rule out, further cuts.

Moreover, the decision to cut rates on Wednesday was not unanimous, with two members voting against.

"Investors quickly came to the conclusion that, with an 8-2 vote and a reluctance to commit to further cuts, the Fed was less dovish than they had believed," said analysts at Moneycorp.

"They marked down equity prices and took the US dollar higher." 

On equity markets, Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower.

European markets opened lower, but with weaker currencies good for export businesses, they pushed into positive territory as the morning wore on.


Trade talks end 


Shanghai stocks finished down 0.8 per cent a day after the latest round of US-China trade talks wrapped up in the city.

Negotiators on both sides said talks had been "efficient and constructive" but gave no signs of an imminent resolution to the impasse.

"While the bar has been set pretty low for progress, there was a level of disappointment after the meeting," said VM Markets managing partner Stephen Innes.

"The fact that they couldn't agree on the G-20's soft-peddled concessions is a worrying sign."

Investors are now turning their attention to key US economic data, including ISM's nationwide manufacturing index and Friday's employment data.

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